Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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A.V. Stetsenko. Announcement of the International Centre of the Roerichs

Announcement of the International Centre of the Roerichs concerning the interview given by the ICR co-worker, executive director and curator of the IRMT Alena Adamkova. The interview was published in “Pravda” newspaper (Bratislava) on January 22, 2011.

On February 2, 2011 the interview given by Alena Adamkova, the ICR co-worker, executive director and curator of the International Roerich Memorial Trust in Naggar was released on web-site of the Russian Embassy in India. This interview entitled as “Slovak Woman is the Keeper of the Himalayan Treasures" was given to Vladimir Yantsura, the journalist of "Pravda" newspaper in Bratislava and published on January 22, 2011. This text was sent to the ICR as e-mailing by Alexander M. Kadakin, the Ambassador of Russian Federation in India. The interview includes untrue information as well as a number of misleading inaccuracies. Taking into account the fact that the interview touches upon the Roerichs heritage, we think that it is necessary to make some corrections and additions.

A. Adamkova said that the writer Valentin Sidorov, the author of "Seven Days in the Himalayas", "... was the first who began to acquaint the Russian public with the creative work of Nicholas and Helena Roerich”.

This is untrue.

Addition: It was George Roerich, the eldest son of Nicholas and Nelena Roerich, who first began to acquaint people with the Roerichs heritage in USSR when he moved to Soviet Russia to stay here in 1957. The vigorous activity of George Roerich aimed at popularizing the heritage of his parents is well known: speeches in mass media, lectures to various categories of people, scientific and educational publications. After his death in May 1960 this activity was continued by his younger brother Svetoslav Roerich. His frequent visits to the Soviet Union were always accompanied by numerous meetings and presentations. The collection of paintings by Nicholas Roerich provided by Svetoslav Roerich during the period 1974 — 1980 had been exposing in many museums of our country.

It stays unclear why A. Adamkova in her interview tries to exclude from the history those who really put much effort to familiarize the society of Soviet Russia with the creative activity of the Roerichs, including P.F Belikov, E.I. Polyakova, A.D Alekhin, V.P Knyazeva, L.V. Shaposhnikova and many others. Thanks to their endeavor 100 years anniversary of Nicholas Roerich was widely celebrated at the highest level in the Soviet Union in 1974. And it is even more strange to ascribe these achievements to a man who is rather far from a true understanding of the Roerichs heritage and its importance.

It should be added also as follows. Firstly, Valentin Sidorov illegally used the material by Concordia Antarova in his book "Seven Days in the Himalayas" without making any reference. Secondly, the historical facts which A. Adamkova does not want to notice for some reasons, strongly testifies that Valentin Sidorov whom A.Adamkova respects so much exerted much effort to prevent the implementation of Svetoslav Roerich's will to build Public Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich in Moscow. He conveyed the Roerichs heritage from India for this Museum.

Then we read in the interview: "With Nicholas Roerich's son Svetoslav Roerich and his wife, Devika Rani, the world-famous Indian actress, I met in Moscow in 1989. They were invited by Mikhail Gorbachev".

Addition: the ICR (formerly SRF) kept the entire archive of the Soviet Roerich's Foundation where one can find great number of documents revealling almost the whole schedule of Svetoslav Roerich and his wife staying in the Soviet Union in autumn 1989. There is no mentioning about the meeting of Svetoslav Roerich with A.Adamkova. The Svetoslav Roerich's main aim of staying in the Soviet Union was establishing the Soviet Roerich's Foundation and the Centre and Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich as its basis. A special resolution of the USSA Council of Ministers. The information about it was published practically in all the editions of Russian central press. Svetoslav Nikolaevich spent most of his time with the leaders of the organization founded by him. He gave them instructions and suggestions on the creation and development of Public Museum. He spoke at meetings of the Board of the SRF more than once and gave joint press conference at the Foreign Ministry of the USSR.

We will be very grateful to A.Adamkova if she shares with us the memories of her meeting with Svetoslav Roerich in 1989. If it really took place, but we do not know anything about it.

It is worth noting that the public Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich of the International Centre of the Roerichs in Moscow was not mentioned in the interview with A.Adamkova, although in the context of this interview the events directly related to the activity of the International Centre of the Roerichs as well as the activity of its co-worker in Kullu Estate A.Adamkova were discussed.

"I was offered a job in Naggar" - says A.Adamkova. - Probably, it is connected with the fact that Alexander Kadakin became the Russian Ambassador in India".

For the next two questions of the interviewer A.Adamkova gives answers that perplex us completely.

Question: "Why it was you to be chosen for this job?".

Answer: "This job required a person who would know both India and Russia, Hinduism and Roerichs philosophy well enough".

Question: "Some Russian Internet resources says that you were chosen by Svetoslav Roerich himself".

Answer: "In this choice Svetoslav Roerich's recommendations were probably taken into account. Anyway, on January 1, 2002 I began working in the International Roerich Memorial Trust as an executive director".

Following A.Adamkova logics, while choosing her for this job «… Svetoslav Roerich's recommendations were probably taken into account». In this context it means that A.Adamkova does not suppose but confirms direct connection of taking this position with Svetoslav Roerich's choice. But it is untrue. A. Adamkova probably forgot that by the time she started working in the IRMT Svetoslav Nikolaevich hadn't been alive for 7 years already. It is necessary to add that three years before the IRMT foundation in Kullu Estate Svetoslav Roerich in his well-known letter “No Delay is Possible” published in the central newspaper «Soviet Culture» 7/29/1989 expressed a wish that the Himalayan Research Institute "Urusvati". According to his will, this Institute had to become a branch of the Center and Museum by name of N.K.Roerich that had been established in Moscow. Even though this idea hadn't been realized, Svetoslav Roerich creating IRMT in 1992 didn't mention A.Adamkova as the candidate for working in the Trust. Those persons whom Svetoslav Roerich planned to involve in running the Trust were personally included in the structure of the Board of Trustees by him personally. As it is known, there is no A.Adamkova among them. And it is at least strange to consider A.Adamkova's appearance in the IRMT as the result of Svetoslav Roerich's recommendations.

The documents of the ICR, as well as the correspondence between the ICR governing body and Russian Federation Ambassadorto India A.M. Kadakin reveal the true story behind this issue. A. Adamkova was chosen to represent the ICR in the IRMT at the suggestion of L.V. Shaposhnikova, the First Vice-President of ICR and the General Director of the Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich, by the board decision of the ICR on June 1st, 2000. Based on this decision, an agreement was concluded between the ICR and A. Adamkova. The story of her appointment began with A.M. Kadakin’s request expressed in one of his letters to L.V. Shaposhnikova, in which he urged her to select the candidate for the position of curator of IRMT personally. In their further correspondence the status of the curator as the representative of the ICR in the IRMT was established. In fact, there are reports of the ICR’s representative A. Adamkova in the case. Thus, in December, 2001, at the suggestion of L.V. Shaposhnikova and with the assistance of A.M. Kadakin A. Adamkova began to work in the IRMT as a representative of the ICR having obtained the position of curator.

When asked about the possibility to organize an art exhibition of Roerichs’ paintings in Slovakia, A. Adamkova answered that “it would be sufficient to bring some from Moscow, where there is also a permanent exposition and a vast collection of his works. A few months ago we arranged for 45 of Roerich’s paintings to be brought to Delhi from Moscow”.

Addition: we are amazed that being the ICR’s employee, A. Adamkova, when talking about events, in which the public Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich actively participated, bypasses the work of the Museum itself. The above-mentioned “permanent exposition” and the “vast collection” are kept at the public Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich of the ICR, which from its funds organized an exhibition in New Delhi referred to by A. Adamkova. For the sake of truth, it should be added that our museum has actually saved Russia's prestige: within an incredibly short period of time and in spite of stubborn resistance of Russian officials, but with the assistance of A.M. Kadakin and A.A. Avdeev, Russian Minister of Culture, our museum managed to organize this exhibition and to time its opening with the arrival of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in New Delhi. Before that the Indian partners have relied upon one of the Russian state museums. That museum did not fulfill its duties and was close to disrupt the obligations of the Russian side. We are struck by and indignant at the fact that A. Adamkova doesn't even mention the existence of the public Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich by virtue of which this exhibition was held.

She was also asked about the Urusvati Institute "founded in Kullu valley by Nicholas and Helena Roerich, where there was a department of Tibetan medicine. Does the IRMT continue its research in this area?"

Her answer was: "At present, we are just beginning to renew our efforts in this area of inquiry. Some research has begun concerning Himalayan plants producing essential oils ".

Addition: this reply suggests that the Urusvati Institute, founded by the Roerich family in 1928 in their estate in Kullu and put in dead storage at the beginning of World War II, has once again started its work. In fact, this information is untrue. The ICR has been trying for a long time to persuade the governing body of the Trust to allow resumption of the Institute's work by Russian and Indian scientists. But the decision is suspended indefinitely. Due to such irresponsible inaction many valuable scientific collections and materials of the Institute have become worthless and the most part of them has simply been stolen. Being concerned over this issue, the leadership of the ICR decided to act unilaterally and to send to the Kullu estate Russian scientists who would start to rescue the remaining scientific collections. A. Adamkova is well aware of the disastrous state of the Urusvati Institute, but in her interview this fact is suppressed, which misleads the readers.

When the reporter asked A. Adamkova about her husband, Oleg Martynov, a documentary filmmaker with whom she had walked along the path of the famous expedition of Nicholas Roerich and had filmed footage for a documentary, she wandered away from the subject.

In view of A. Adamkova's weird obliviousness, we will clarify this matter.

There was an agreement between the ICR and A. Adamkova that the ICR was to provide her with all the necessary equipment and materials for filming a documentary, while she and her husband, on their part, would shoot a film about the Central-Asian Expedition of Nicholas Roerich. The ICR has fulfilled all its obligations. But despite the fact that wonderful footage was shot the film did not work out. A. Adamkova did not understand the essence of the unique expedition of Nicholas Roerich, which was to underlie the film. This became clear when A. Adamkova introduced her work to the governing body of the ICR. She refused to accept the recommendations of the ICR, which could have saved the film. Eventually, the film was rejected, not only by the ICR - its customer, but also by TV channels, which A. Adamkova had counted upon. But that was not the end of the story. The footage belongs to the ICR, and A. Adamkova repeatedly promised to hand it over to this institution, but did not fulfill her promise. Moreover, all the expensive equipment purchased to shoot this documentary was not returned either.

At the end of the interview with A. Adamkova there is her speculation about the philosophy of the Roerichs: ". . . Roerich philosophy is becoming an alternative to the Russian Orthodox religion".

This is A. Adamkova’s personal opinion. What she refers to as "Roerich philosophy" is a philosophical and ethical teaching called Living Ethics. Apparently, A. Adamkova shares the point of view of Deacon A. Kuraev. This clergyman tries to present the Living Ethics teaching as a hostile alternative to Orthodoxy which is fundamentally contrary to the essence of Living Ethics. This doctrine is a scientific and philosophical system of cosmic reality, which characterizes the correspondence between man andcosmos. Therefore, the juxtaposition of Living Ethics and Orthodox Christianity is simply out of place.

A. Adamkova’s answer to the reporter's request to "summarize the main tenets of the teaching" shows that she is far from understanding the basis of this philosophical system. Thus, in her interpretation, "Agni" means "spiritual fire". This explanation is wrong. Though "Agni" is translated from Sanskrit as "fire", it is an energy that, depending on a plane of being, is manifested in different ways. Hopefully, the Ph.D. will sort out the fundamentals of Living Ethics.

For all that, it should be noted that during the 10 years of work in the Trust A. Adamkova has put a lot of effort into preservation of the Roerichs' estate. Nevertheless, she didn't cope with the task set by the ICR before her as its representative in the Trust initiated for preservation of the Roerichs' heritage in Kullu. An uninformed reader of her interview may think that the current situation with the Roerichs' heritage at their mansion in Kullu should not arouse any concern. But in fact, the situation with the preservation of the heritage can not be called a success.

Documentary evidence that the reader will find in the article "The Roerichs heritage in the Kullu Valley. What are we going to leave to posterity?" by D. Revyakin and A. Prokhorychev proves that the state of heritage in the Roerichs' estate in Kullu requires to take urgent measures for its preservation.

Over the past ten years the work on creation of a proper Memorial Museum and revival of the activity of the Urusvati Institute has not been initiated. These tasks were the main goals that Svetoslav Roerich set before the IRMT creating it in 1992.